Facial massage not only feels amazing, but it also relieves tension, reduces stress, and increases circulation which plays an important role in skin aging. Many of us tend to hold stress in our faces and frequent facial massages are great for both relaxation and skin health. Who doesn’t love a little TLC with the science to back it up?
One of the challenges that we face due to aging is a decrease in circulation, which includes reduced blood flow to our skin. This is important because nourishment is brought to basal cells in the epidermis from the blood vessels (aka capillaries) found in the dermis. These blood nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, and oxygen are all necessary for our cells to function properly. It has been shown that as we age skin blood flow decreases significantly. There is about a 40% reduction from ages 20-70 years old (Tsuchida, 1993). This likely reflects age-related changes in the microcirculation throughout the body.
“The microcirculation is defined as the blood flow through arterioles, capillaries and venules, which are the smallest vessels in the vasculature and are embedded within organs and tissues. Microcirculation provides tissue perfusion, fluid homeostasis, delivery of oxygen and other nutrients, as well as controlling temperature and the inflammatory response. Age-associated delays in microvascular responses to stressors lead to impairments in processes that are pivotal for wound healing” (Bentov, I., & Reed, M. J. (2015).
As with all other components of healthy skin, it cannot be achieved without a focus on overall health. Other strategies that can help to improve the function of microcirculation include; physical activity, optimizing inflammatory responses, and attention to deficiencies in growth factors, sex steroids, or the extracellular matrix.
As for the blood flow to your skin, a 2018 study showed that five minutes of facial massage produces short term effects of increased skin blood flow to the treated area for at least ten minutes after the massage. Continuous massage over a five-week period had long term effects on skin blood flow and vasodilation. These results imply that long-term continuous facial massages may improve the skin’s vascular function through the residual effects. This means better healing, better functioning cells, and happier glowing skin.
Benefits of regular facial massage:
- Relieves tension in facial muscles
- May help increase circulation when done regularly
- Increased blood flow accelerates healing in the skin
- Increased blood flow to the tissue helps to nourish, heal and hydrate your skin
Wether you’re receiving professional facial massage or giving yourself one at home, the main goal is to manipulate the tissue, relieve tension, and increase circulation. A few guidelines I’d recommend for self-massage are to use a product for slip and moisture, work in upward motions, and find what feels good for you. Tools such as gua-sha stones and massage rollers are optional, although not necessary. Your hands are the best tool you could ask for. So, get in there with your serums, moisturizers, masks, or while cleansing your face in the shower and treat yourself to a facial massage. You’ll be glowing in no time.
My favorite home-care products for massage medium;
And if you’re looking for a pro facial massage, you’re in the perfect place. At Sapien, our facials are fully customizable and can be massage focused upon request (P.S. it’s as amazing as it sounds). Click here to read our facial FAQs and schedule your appointment.
Bentov, I., & Reed, M. J. (2015). The effect of aging on the cutaneous microvasculature. Microvascular research, 100, 25–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mvr.2015.04.004
Holowatz, L. A., Thompson-Torgerson, C., & Kenney, W. L. (2010). Aging and the control of human skin blood flow. Frontiers in bioscience (Landmark edition), 15(2), 718–739. https://doi.org/10.2741/3642
Tsuchida Y. The effect of aging and arteriosclerosis on human skin blood flow. J Dermatol Sci. 1993 Jun;5(3):175-81. doi: 10.1016/0923-1811(93)90764-g. PMID: 8241073.
Miyaji A, Sugimori K, Hayashi N. Short- and long-term effects of using a facial massage roller on facial skin blood flow and vascular reactivity. Complement Ther Med. 2018 Dec;41:271-276. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.09.009. Epub 2018 Sep 14. PMID: 30477852.